Unless you’re in solitary confinement, you know Tet is coming. Yes, folks, it’s that time of the year for giant sound systems, end of year parties, shopping madness and babies hanging off the front of motorbikes in the cutest brand new clothes mum could find. Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, begins on the 16th of February (Western calendar) 2018. It’s both one of my favorite times of the year and frequently the most stressful. The shops are jammed full of locals stocking up on food, gifts and offerings for the celebrations that occur over the four official days of Tet. Please note that stocks of little red envelopes for the lucky money run out pretty quick too. If you’re part of the non-75% complaining expat crowd, Tet is a fun time to be around. Lots of party invites, unless you’re Daniel Hauer and off the A-list. And with many Vietnamese out of town, it’s a rather quiet time. As I’ve mentioned recently in other articles, you need to plan … [Read more...] about Are you ready for Tet in Vietnam yet?
God can turn things around suddenly
She heard someone shouting: "You are not allowed to be here!" A sun-tanned man stood there, looking fixedly at her and waiting for the answer. "This is the common sea. Is it yours, do you have the right to drive me away?" - She asked in anger. Saying so, she found out that there was a blue lighthouse standing aloft looking toward the sea. That guy had to be a lighthouse keeper, she thought. She came here looking for material for her artwork. Cambodians here have said that the sea current sent logs toward Tien Island. They were rotten logs and turned into weird shapes by sand and wind. Yes, Diem was looking for these logs in the hope that she could be able to sculpt them into the shapes she wanted. Diem was walking barefoot along the beach; her eyes were closely following those little crabs carrying sand at the crest of the wave. Those pieces of logs were floating as if they were dancing before her. Now she could make them into the waving arms or an old woman or a kissing couple and … [Read more...] about Nhandan Newspaper – A lighthouse in a far-flung area
Actually, the Ma villagers have become involved in making paper votive objects, including all the odds and ends in the world, say, Hades money, clothes and even villas or cars. So these masks are much needed to make these dummies, which are used for worshipping on several occasions, such as community rituals, death anniversaries or village festivals. Nhu got married to a man from the next village Ngoc, a few kilometres from her Ma village. Vu, her husband, had six brothers, so her single mother agreed to give him matrilocal residence. He knew his wife's situation, but he loved his wife Nhu very much, so he did not care a pin about it. When he got married, Vu was only 21 years old. *** Ma village is located by the Duong River, very close to the foot of the dike. Walking on the dike to its bend, the village suddenly appears; yet walking out of the bend, turning to have a look at it, the village is out of sight, like a ghost. So it is called Ma (Ghost) village. Originally, the village … [Read more...] about Nhandan Newspaper – A mask making family
In the old days, red sun flowers were rare, grown by few people and liked by less. Nowadays, the red sun flower grows easily and rapidly, but still not many like it. There are a lot of legends about the red sun flower, but all of them tell of sadness, of loneliness. The stories about it always end with break-ups, jealousy, death and worse. The red sun flower turns towards the sun and has both confidence in love and repentance for wrongdoings. @ "Anything interesting going on, my dear?" "Not much, my dear. Only arguments with no winner. Why are you late?" "I've got some guests to attend to!" "Are they interesting?" "No, and I'm dead tired. They're middle-aged and only talked about sex. So dull!" "How is that dull? Men like to talk about sex, I thought." "Not me!" "How good you are!" "I'm neither good, nor bad!" "You sent me a pair of beautiful shoes this morning!" "They're a gift, my dear! Oh, by the way, you keep forgetting to give me a bottle of brandy, you've been saying you will for … [Read more...] about Red Sun flower
Simple as they were, they spoke volumes for the expectations of the little children with their shaved heads who were staying there. Some may think that they merely portray small moments of pleasure in their daily life. For those unlucky kids, I hope that miracles could make their dreams come true. Innocent questions or answers like “a bone problem?” or “an eye disease” from them and their stories about trips in the hospital ambulance stung my heart. Below is a true story that I heard and recorded on the spot. Nhien saw a small girl with a shaved head sitting opposite a dim, narrow section of wall under the stairs in the cancer hospital while she was on the way to the testing room. The girl looked like so many other bald young kids here. However, her strangely swollen left eye and deformed face startled Nhien so much that she hid herself beside her father. For the next few days, she was startled every time she saw the girl sitting in the same place with a thin … [Read more...] about The wall of dreams